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February 22, 2024

Week Two NFL Power Rankings

After a wild week one, here’s where every team stands heading into week two.
Week Two NFL Power Rankings

Week one of the NFL season is in the books, and it was as chaotic as advertised. From explosive plays from superstars like Christian McCaffrey to upset wins for the Browns and Rams, week one had it all and it reminded us just why we watch football in the first place. It’s easy to overreact to small sample sizes early in the season, so here’s my best attempt at staying sane with my power rankings heading into week two.

Each team’s rank from last week is listed in parentheses.

The worst of the worst:

#32. Chicago Bears (0-1, 28): Week one couldn’t have gone any worse for the Bears, as Justin Fields played worse than he did last year and the defense was horrendous. I’m sorry Bears fans, you can’t seem to catch a break.

#31. Arizona Cardinals (0-1, 32): There’s not really much to say here. The Cards played relatively well in a 20-16 week one loss to the Commanders, but they still aren’t talented at all. They could be scrappy, but I just don’t see them winning many games.

#30. Houston Texans (0-1, 30): C.J. Stroud played mistake free in his first NFL game, but he didn’t make any great plays either. Hopefully he improves as the season goes on, but the Texans are likely going to be stuck in this bottom tier all season unless something unexpected happens.

The best of the worst:

#29. Indianapolis Colts (0-1, 29): The Colts and Anthony Richardson actually played pretty well in a week one loss to the Jaguars, yet they still lost by 10. This team just isn’t all that good, although they are definitively better than the three teams below them.

#28. Washington Commanders (1-0, 27): The Commanders won in week one, but it took them until the final two minutes for them to seal the deal against the lowly Cardinals. I need to see more especially out of this offense before I move Washington up any higher.

#27. Carolina Panthers (0-1, 23): Rookie quarterback Bryce Young struggled in week one, throwing two bad interceptions and only leading his offense to 10 points. I expect big things out of Young in the long term, but it could be a bit of a trying rookie campaign with mediocre receivers to throw to.

The scrappy underdogs:

#26. Los Angeles Rams (1-0, 31): The Rams are one of the biggest risers of the week, as Matthew Stafford turned back the clock and led them to a convincing 30-13 upset of the Seahawks. Young receivers Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell also shined, as they both went for 119 yards. We’ll see if they can keep it up, but they were certainly impressive in week one.

#25. New Orleans Saints (1-0, 24): Despite the week one win, I’m just not moved by this team. Derek Carr is such an average quarterback, and the defense is nothing special either. If they keep winning I guess I’ll have to move them up, but I need to see more to believe it.

#24. Tennessee Titans (0-1, 18): I still have the Titans ahead of the Saints even though they lost. They caught some bad breaks, and I prefer their talent and coaching. However, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was awful against New Orleans, throwing three bad interceptions. The Titans will continue to fall if his poor play continues, and he might even get benched.

#23. Denver Broncos (0-1, 20): What a boring week one performance for Denver. Russell Wilson completed over 75% of his passes, but he averaged under seven yards per completion. The defense played well, but this team will go nowhere unless the offense steps up.

#22. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0, 25): Jimmy Garoppolo and the Raiders surprised with a week one win over the Broncos. Their offense is solid and will put up some points, but their defense lacks proven talent. They played well last week, but I doubt that will continue this week against the Bills.

#21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0, 26): The Bucs jump up five spots after an impressive road win over the Vikings to open the season. Baker Mayfield threw two touchdowns and avoided any turnovers, and the defense played with physicality and aggressiveness. We’ll see if they can keep it up.

#20. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1, 19): The season couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start than it did for the Steelers, as they were trounced 30-7 by the 49ers. However, they only fall one spot in my power rankings as I expect them to rebound – it was probably just a bad week against a great team. Coach Mike Tomlin’s teams are always respectable.

Playoff contenders:

#19. Atlanta Falcons (1-0, 22): Atlanta played well in all three phases during a 24-10 win over the Panthers in week one. Rookie running back Bijan Robinson totaled 83 yards and a touchdown on 16 touches to lead the offense, and free agent addition Jessie Bates had two interceptions defensively. My NFC South prediction is off to a good start.

#18. Green Bay Packers (1-0, 21): The Packers still own the Bears, even with a new quarterback. Jordan Love threw three touchdowns and the defense turned Justin Fields over twice in a dominating 38-20 week one win. They should also be getting top wide receiver Christian Watson back from a minor hamstring injury this week. The new era of Packers football is off to a better start than anyone could have hoped for.

#17. Seattle Seahawks (0-1, 14): The Seahawks had a bad week one, losing to the young Rams 30-13. Their defense is definitely a concern, but the offense should rebound. This team doesn’t have high upside, but I expect them to have a decent floor as the season progresses.

#16. New York Giants (0-1, 12): The Giants got destroyed by the Cowboys 40-0 in week one. They were sacked seven times, turned the ball over three times, and even had a field goal blocked and return for a touchdown against them. This team is better than that and I expect them to get back on track, but it was a pitiful performance and they have to drop in the power rankings until they prove that it was a fluke.

#15. New York Jets (1-0, 2): Jets fans, I hate this for you. In 2018 you drafted Sam Darnold third overall in the draft, expecting to finally have a franchise quarterback. However, after three rough years, you had to draft another quarterback, Zach Wilson, second overall in 2021. He was a bust too. Tired of constantly having a bad quarterbacks, you put all your chips on the table and traded for Aaron Rodgers. With a great offense around him and an awesome defense, hopes were high for this Jets season. But four plays into his first game in gang green, Rodgers was sacked and tore his Achilles and is done for the year. The win over the Bills on Monday night was unbelievable, but it may turn out to be the Super Bowl of the Jets season. With Wilson back under center, this offense’s potential is extremely low. The defense will single handedly keep them competitive and maybe they will sneak into the playoffs, but all championship aspirations have evaporated. What an unfortunate disaster.

#14. New England Patriots (0-1, 17): Despite losing to the Eagles, New England’s performance inspired a lot more optimism than it did disappointment. The defense played well considering the opponent, and Mack Jones threw for over 300 yards and nearly led a game winning drive in the final minute. The Pats will be right in the thick of the AFC playoff picture.

#13. Minnesota Vikings (0-1, 16): Similar to New England, I’m not too worried about the Vikings despite their week one loss to the Buccaneers. Their offense moved the ball well; they just struggled to finish drives with touchdowns. The defense was also solid, holding the Bucs to 20 points and 240 total yards. The Vikings will be okay.

#12. Detroit Lions (1-0, 15): I was wrong about the Lions in week one. While they probably didn’t deserve to win and definitely would have lost if Travis Kelce had been available for the Chiefs, Detroit took full advantage of Kansas City’s mistakes and escaped with a 21-20 win. I still worry about this defense when they have to face a team with better receivers (like this coming week against the Seahawks), but this offense is really good and will put up points against almost anybody.

#11. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1, 9): The Chargers seem to be the exact same team they were last year. Their offense is explosive, but the defense is just not good. Justin Herbert will win them some games, but I don’t have high hopes for this team with the defense playing like they did in week one, when Tua Tagovailoa threw for 466 yards against them. Head coach Brandon Staley, a defensive minded coach, is definitely on the hot seat.

#10. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0, 10): The Jags beat the Colts in week one, but it was not a very impressive win. The defense struggled to contain rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, and Trevor Lawrence had two unfortunate turnovers. However, new addition Calvin Ridley lived up to expectations, catching eight passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Assuming Lawrence gets the turnovers under control, this offense will be just fine. If anything holds this team back this year, it will probably be the defense.

#9. Buffalo Bills (0-1, 7): I honestly just don’t believe in the Bills. Losing to the Jets after the Aaron Rodgers injury is inexcusable. Josh Allen played like garbage, turning the ball over four times in a continuation of a very concerning trend from last season. Three of those turnovers were interceptions to the exact same player – Jets safety Jordan Whitehead. Two of those interceptions basically served as arm punts, as Allen literally chucked the ball as far as he could even though he didn’t have a receiver remotely in the area. This team just doesn’t inspire much confidence and they will continue to fall in the rankings unless they turn things around.

#8. Cleveland Browns (1-0, 13): The Browns dominated the two-time reigning AFC North champion Bengals 24-3 in an impressive week one performance. While this game was played in the rain and was more than likely a fluke for Cincinnati’s offense, the Browns’ defense definitely deserves a lot of credit. Under new coordinator Jim Schwartz, their pass rush was suffocating and their secondary was lockdown. This roster is extremely talented, but it still remains to be seen how good DeShaun Watson will be when it matters. He didn’t have to do much in week one.

#7. Baltimore Ravens (1-0, 8): As expected, the Ravens cruised to an easy win over the Texans last week. There’s not much to take away from that game, but they have a big one against the Bengals coming up in week two.

#6. Miami Dolphins (1-0, 11): The Dolphins offense is virtually unstoppable when healthy. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle make up the best wide receiver duo in the league, making Tua Tagovailoa’s job extremely easy. He threw for 466 yards in week one against the Chargers and hardly broke a sweat doing it. The only concern for Miami besides health is the defense, but I have confidence that coordinator Vick Fangio will get his unit back on track after struggling against the Chargers.

#5. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1, 3): Yes, I still have the Bengals ahead of the Browns even after getting pounded by Cleveland last week. We know that Joe Burrow and this offense are better than that. I’m not worried, and I expect them to rebound in a big way against the Ravens this week.

#4. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0, 4): The Eagles beat the Patriots in week one, but it was not a very convincing performance. They jumped out to an early 16-0 lead after a pair of flukey New England turnovers, then proceeded to score nine points in the final three quarters. The Pats nearly won the game on a last minute touchdown drive, but Philly forced a turnover on downs inside the 20 yard line to preserve the victory. They have their home opener this Thursday night against the Vikings, and I think they are again on upset watch. Their secondary is not the same as it was last year, and I expect Justin Jefferson and the Vikings to have their way with them.

#3. Kansas City Chiefs (0-1, 1): Similar to the Bengals, I’m not worried about the Chiefs despite a disappointing week one loss. Travis Kelce should be back soon to aid a passing game that struggled against the Lions, and star defensive lineman Chris Jones ended his hold out this week after agreeing on a one-year contract with Kansas City. With that being said, a road game in Jacksonville this Sunday will provide another interesting test.

#2. Dallas Cowboys (1-0, 6): The Cowboys beat the living daylights out of the Giants in week one, winning 40-0. They completely dominated, and there’s not much else to say. The only reason they aren’t number one is quarterback Dak Prescott, who only completed 13 of 24 passes for 123 yards. Fortunately Dallas didn’t need much out of him against the Giants, but he certainly needs to be better.

#1. San Francisco 49ers (1-0, 2): If they stay healthy, this team is going to be special. The playmakers and coaching on offense might both be the best in the league, and quarterback Brock Purdy continues to impress. On the other side of the ball, the defense is dominant. They didn’t miss a beat in week one even after the loss of coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who took the head coach job in Houston over the offseason. This is the most complete team in football right now, although they will need their stars to stay healthy as their depth is less than ideal.

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About the Contributor
Max Teply, Staff Writer
This is Max's third year on staff. He enjoys writing, and he spends plenty of time keeping up with the NFL.
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